Cyclists use pedal power to raise £4,000 in honour of brave Wigan schoolboy

A charity bike ride inspired by a brave Wigan schoolboy has been hailed as the most successful event yet.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 4:55 am

A large team of 41 cyclists - the biggest yet - got on their bikes and braved the glorious sunshine to cycle from Southport to Abram.

And they raised a massive £4,000 for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s ward 84 and children’s cancer charity Kidscan, which is double the amount normally raised.

The fourth annual event was organised by the parents of 10-year-old Olly Johnson, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of two and needed treatment for three years, before going into remission.

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Mum Donna Johnson, from Abram, said: “We have raised more than we have ever raised and had more people than we have had before. Nothing really went wrong. Everybody had a really good day.”

She said there were people taking part in the ride for the first time this year, boosting participation numbers, while everyone was particularly motivated to help the charities as they recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Donna said: “Everyone was really conscious that charities have been hard hit over the last couple of years and a lot of events haven’t happened.

Olly Johnson with parents Phil and Donna and brother Callum,18

“One of the sad facts was people were doing it for the children’s cancer ward in Manchester, which is where most people from Wigan are transferred, and that has had to move to a different area due to the number of people being diagnosed. That brings it home.”

The bike ride has become an annual event and sees participants travel to Southport by coach before cycling back to Abram, covering around 25 miles.

Lateral flow tests were handed out before the ride with T-shirts, so everyone could check they did not have coronavirus.

Among the cyclists was Donna, her husband Phil and son Callum, 18.

Cheering them on at stops along the way was Abram St John’s CE Primary School pupil Olly and his friend Josh Cubbin, 10, spurring on the riders to keep going. The pair met when they were both being treated on ward 84.

Afterwards, a celebration was held at the Bucks Head in Abram as riders rested their weary legs.

It was certainly a welcome return for the challenge, which had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Donations to the fund-raising appeal can still be made at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PhilJohnson14

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